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There are really only a few important features in a car: brakes, drivetrain, seats, steering, suspension and wheels. Early vehicles were little more than these six elements. However, as customers got pickier and vehicles got fancier, the factory option was born. While some of these technological wonders evolved into standard equipment for modern automobiles, such as car radios and air-conditioning, not every option is destined for ubiquity. Some are good ideas that are too specialized for anyone outside of a niche audience. Others are nothing more than expensive engineering gimmicks aimed at amusing the very wealthy customers, and some options were just dumb ideas that never had a chance.

Here are some of the most outrageous factory-installed options.

1- Highway Hi-Fi (mini records) - '56 Dodge/DeSoto
2- Steering Wheel Self-Winding Watches - '51 Oldsmobile
3- Auto Tents - Chevy Vega & Nova Hatchbacks, '75 El Camino
4- Electric Shaver - '57 Ford
5- Makeup Tray - '39 Chevrolet
6- Swing-Away Steering Wheel - '61 Ford (& offered a few years)
7- Granite Trim - '09 Maybach (the car is $1.3 mil)
8- Airscarf (Headrest warmer) - '04 Mercedes-Benxa SLK
9- Starlight Headliner - Rolls Royce ($8.4k option)
10- Aroma Diffuser - Toyota (Japan)

Taken from Sam Foley's article - he is a Connecticut-based automotive journalist who has written for GQ, Forbes, USA Today, the New York Post and various other publications.

Image: Chevy Vega GT Hatchback with "Tent Go-Camp"